September 11, 2001, brought the sacrifice and courage that firefighters face every day to the attention of the world. These brave men and women were some of the first on the scene after the World Trade Center towers collapsed; some did not leave alive.
Their legacy, as well as that of those firefighters who served in New York City throughout the years, is preserved in the New York City Fire Museum. Here you'll see the way in which firefighting evolved, starting with the bucket brigades that operated in New Amsterdam and going up to the present, with the modern equipment and vehicles.
History of the New York Fire Museum
The Museum originally opened as the Fire College Museum in 1934. Its first location was on Long Island City. In 1959, a firehouse at 100 Duane Street in Manhattan became the Museum's new home. The generous donation of fire memorabilia collected by the Home Insurance Company made it necessary for the Museum to move to its present location in Soho, on Spring Street. There a 1904 Beaux-Arts firehouse was renovated, and the Museum now calls this beautiful structure home.
Displays and Exhibits
Displays and exhibits include firefighting equipment that was used in the earliest days of New York City firefighting, as well as the modern equipment. Perhaps the most poignant and special display though is the memorial that honors the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. When you visit this room, please show proper respect and decorum, and say a prayer or have a thought for those brave people as well as the ones they left behind to mourn their passing.
You'll also see how the firefighters of New York work to educate children concerning the dangers of fire and how to be safe when you visit the miniature apartment that is used to teach fire safety. A video room is also part of this exhibit, which is geared for students in K-12.
If you visit the New York Fire Museum, you'll be one of over 30,000 visitors who pass through the doors each year. Tours are either self-guided or are led by light-duty and retired firefighters, who volunteer their time for this service.
You can choose from guided historical tours (very popular with school groups) to fire safety tours. The fire safety tours take approximately one hour, and are adjusted to fit the ages of the group touring.